Ladybird, Ladybird fly away home--
Your house is on fire, your children all gone.
All but one and her name is Anne
And she crept under the puddin' pan.
Not exactly cheerful, but for some reason I've always liked that little ditty. Now, you will be wanting to hear more about this story, I know. I will oblige you, but right now you will understand that this is a bit of a New Project, in that it is not fleshed out entirely. You know the sort. And I will also tell you that I pledge not to work on Fly Away Home any day until I've written my allotment of The Scarlet-Gypsy Song. I will not be guilty of neglect.I rebel against the charge. ;)
So. Fly Away Home. Where to start....? With a blurb, I suppose:
"Callie Harper--St. Evan's Post, New York. Journalism, short-hand, and the occasional obituary." Yep. Looking back on it, that's a pretty grim way to earn your bread--writing up obituaries for bereaved families. But then, someone's got to do it so why not me?
Callie Harper is a career woman stuck in a fourth-floor office in New York City. It isn't exactly the big break she was looking for straight out of school, but it'll have to do. That is, until she gets the opportunity to start a magazine with America's most famous journalist: Mr. Wade Barnett. He's famous. He's rich. He's Society's darling. It's a diamond-deal--a once in a life-time gig for a city-girl in the early 1950's.
But Callie soon realizes that her ideas and Mr. Barnett's collide at every point. She sees a woman's worth as the number on her paycheck--the width of the circles that know her name. His ideal is a woman of character--be she a mother surrounded by children or the First Lady of the United States. She wants a quick ticket to fame and fortune. He wants to work steadily and thoroughly at the task at hand. It seems that Ladybird Snippets is an ill-fated venture that will go down in the annals of journalism as a gigantic flop. But the worldly-wise Callie was prepared to be ditched from the start--why would this man be any different from the leagues of other in his profession. It might just take a man of Mr. Barnett's tenacity to convince Miss Callie Harper that the measure of success is not always wrapped up in a town-car and glitzy dinners at the Ritz-Carlton...
So. How does that sound? Interesting? Dull as powder? For some time I've been wanting to write a book with a specific theme. I suppose the theme of this book could be "finding the way home." That's where the name comes from. Right after the start of the Rosie-the-Riveter movement, Mr. Barnett is an old-fashioned man with timeless wisdom who is thrown together with a Callie Harper--a girl dead set on making it big in journalism.Their relationship is caustic to say the least.
But why am I babbling? Meet the main characters:
Miss Calida Harper (Callie)
She's beautiful, successful, witty, poised, and utterly confused as to what she really wants out of life. Her name is Greek for "Most beautiful; warm" and the fact that Mr. Barnett knows the meaning and she does not perfectly sums up their individual personalities.
Mr. Wade Barnett:
He's middle-aged, kind, simple, and gorgeously rich and famous. Callie describes him as "an old-fashioned goose." I would rather let him speak for himself. His entire character can be summed up in this one paragraph:“This is Mr. Wade Barnett.”At the words my eyes flew open, my stomach leaped into my heart and I struggled to keep my mouth from dropping open. Mr. Wade Barnett. The Mr. Wade Barnett. America’s most famous journalist—the idol of every kid coming out of school. The Charles Dickens of this century, so to speak. And here I was sitting in his presence wearing a dress with a limp collar, needing a hair-cut, and not even wearing hose. Somebody must have a sense of humor.
“Oh, posh. I wouldn’t put that much stock in me, Miss Harper.” The kind, reassuring voice startled me—I was expecting something throaty and soft—perhaps even silken, like a gentleman’s smoking-jacket. But there was nothing more prosaic than the voice I had heard.
It gave me enough pluck to lift my chin. “I don’t make you an idol, Mr. Barnett. I don’t put that much stock in your talents.” Then, realizing my blunder, I hastened to put it right. “What I mean to say is, gee, you’re a fabulous writer and I love to read your work but I don’t idolize you.”
He put up a hand and smiled. His eyes were lighter than in the pictures—almost a chestnut color. “Don’t worry about it—it’s better that you don’t idolize me since you’ll soon find out I’m nothing that special.”
He is a gentleman among gentleman, but he's stubborn as a mule. He's got an iron will beneath that gentle smile, and when Callie's hot-headed remarks and juvenile theories brush up against that iron will, you can be assured the sparks fly.
Oh yes. I have a good feeling about this.